It’s something that students frequently ask me. And it’s a question I’m asking myself as AAPG assesses how to best serve its Members in a changing world.
Geoscientists play a lot of different roles in our industry, but foremost, we are technical and scientific experts. We understand the rocks, their depositional history and their potential to generate hydrocarbons.
Using this scientific understanding, we search for insights using creativity to find those hydrocarbons. I still remember my graduate school adviser, Dave Wavrek, observe that in defining a petroleum system, he tries to think like an oil droplet tracing its course from expulsion from the source rock to trap. I thought that was pretty cool. And since then, I’ve had other explorationists tell me they do the same thing.
But being successful in the oil and gas industry isn’t just about science and creativity; it’s about putting it all together to create a business. It requires an entrepreneurial spirit and an ability to manage risk.
In fact, as I’m writing this column, I’m in Houston attending the AAPG Global Super Basins 2019 conference on the Permian basin, where AAPG President-elect Mike Party made that very point: if you can’t tolerate risk, you’re going to struggle in this business.
What strikes me, though, listening to talks about the Permian Basin (a basin that has been producing for nearly a century and is currently producing more than many of the world’s largest oil producers) is that these three elements – scientific excellence, creativity and business savvy – are still the qualities that geoscientists bring to the petroleum industry.
Yes, the way that we do this evolves as our scientific understanding improves and as technological change and our ability to glean more insight from data accelerates. But, fundamentally, these three elements are essential to your success.
The Deals that Secure Your Future
The North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) Summit in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center this month and APPEX in London next month provide excellent opportunities to see how these elements fit together.
NAPE Summit is a partnership of the American Association of Professional Landmen, the Independent Producers Association of America, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and AAPG, and draws thousands of industry players to meet and evaluate prospects available for sale and investment. You’ll feel the buzz on the exhibit hall floor as people from across the world look for opportunities.
The week features a global business conference with industry experts, a job expo and opportunities for training and learning. In fact, AAPG is conducting a short course entitled, “Profitable Development of Shales.”
“Negotiate the deals that secure your future” is the theme of next month’s APPEX at the Business Design Centre in the London Borough of Islington.
Now in its 17th year, APPEX is a truly global showcase of prospects, investors, business opportunities and technology, delivering a revamped program and lively networking to help you close a deal.
Returning this year for its second installment is the “Next Generation Deal Making” workshop, designed by young professionals for young professionals to help you learn deal-making from start to finish.
Ours is a truly global business and no AAPG event reflects this better than APPEX.
Risk and Romance
Science, creativity, and entrepreneurialism are the three elements that have enabled the petroleum industry to succeed and thrive for more than a century.
It’s not an easy business. Thanks to the boom and bust cycles typical of commodity businesses, the fact that natural systems are complex, making it tough to find hydrocarbons in the petroleum system, and that many companies use leverage to generate returns … this isn’t a business for the risk averse. It’s real.
And yet there is a romance to our industry, an allure to the wildcatter who takes a financial grub stake and a geological idea and goes out looking for oil. And yet, there are some who suggest the era of the wildcatter is drawing to a close. I’m not so sure. The talents that geoscientists bring to our business are still vitally important. The product we deliver continues to underpin modern society.
While I’m attending NAPE Summit and APPEX I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled, looking for the next oil field legend. I hope to see you there.